Ewa Olkowska, Marek Ruman, Magdalena Drąg-Śmigalska and Żaneta Polkowska
Surface active agents (surfactants) are a group of chemical compounds, which are used as ingredients of detergents, cleaning products, cosmetics and functional products. After use, wastes containing surfactants or their degradation products are discharged to wastewater treatment plants or directly into surface waters. Due to their specific properties of SAAs, compounds are able to migrate between different environmental compartments such as soil, sediment, water or even living organisms and accumulate there. Surfactants can have a harmful effect on living organisms. They can connect with bioactive molecules and modify their function. Additionally, they have the ability to migrate into cells and cause their damage or death. For these reasons investigation of individual surfactants should be conducted. The presented research has been undertaken to obtain information about SAA contamination of sediment from the River Kłodnica catchment caused by selected anionic (linear alkylbenzene sulfonates (LAS C10-C13)) and cationic (alkylbenzyldimethylammonium (BDMA-C12-16), alkyl trimethyl ammonium (DTMA), hexadecyl piridinium chloride (HP) chlorides) surfactants. This river flows through an area of the Upper Silesia Industrial Region where various companies and other institutions (e.g. coal mining, power plants, metallurgy, hospitals) are located. To determine their concentration the following analytical tools have been applied: accelerated solvent extraction– solid phase extraction – high performance liquid chromatography – UV-Vis (anionic SAAs) and conductivity (cationic SAAs) detectors. In all sediments anionic SAAs have been detected. The concentrations of HTMA and BDMA-C16 in tested samples were higher than other cationic analytes. Generally, levels of surfactants with longer alkyl chains were higher and this observation can confirm their higher susceptibility to sorption on solid surfaces.
Marek Ruman, Ewa Olkowska, Magdalena Drąg-Śmigalska, Grzegorz Jankowski and Żaneta Polkowska
Surfactants are a group of compounds with specific physico-chemical properties and therefore they are used in many spheres of human activity. Surface-active substances undergo various physico-chemical transformations, what enables their migration between different elements of the environment and may lead to its pollution. Selected anionic surfactants were determined in samples of water from the Klodnica river (25 samples) and bottom sediments (25 samples). In most samples the presence of anionic analytes was confirmed. The determined concentration levels were in the range of up to 0.2105±0.0023 mg/dm3 or 0.207±0.010 μg/kg (surface water and bottom sediment samples, respectively). Comparing the concentrations of certain analytes found in liquid and solid environmental samples, it can be noticed that the surfactants containing a shorter alkyl chain in a molecule were present in higher concentrations in liquid samples (hydrophobicity increasing with the increasing length of the chain) and the other way round.